HIGHWAYS England is improving access for residents, walkers and cyclists along West Street, Ringwood, ahead of work to widen the A31.

The work, which is being carried out by Hampshire County Council on behalf of Highways England, will improve safety and accessibility for non-motorists.

It will begin the process that will ultimately see access from West Street to the A31 closed.

At the same time, the footpath will be widened along the north side of the street, and a new footway built over a bridge.

Highways England is planning further footway and cycleway improvements to coincide with its main scheme to improve capacity on the A31.

The West Street scheme will start on Monday February 15 and is due to finish by the end of July.

Daniel Kittredge, Highways England project manager for the A31 improvement scheme, said: "We are delighted to be able to fund this work along West Street and improve cycling and pedestrian access for the residents of Ringwood.

"We have worked hard with Hampshire County Council to cover as much work as possible at this time and minimise disruption to local residents.

“It’s exciting to see this work get underway, which will not only improve the environment of West Street but also enable us to complete essential cable diversions which is necessary to get ready for the main A31 upgrade work.”

Cllr Rob Humby is Hampshire County Council's executive member for economy, transport and environment.

He said: "Hampshire County Council has been working collaboratively with New Forest District Council and Ringwood Town Council to develop a programme of small-scale measures that support the Ringwood Town Access Plan.

"These measures will help improve pedestrian and cycle safety, while ensuring good access to the town remains after the closure of West Street.”